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The Tao of Wu by The RZA (Riverside) The RZA is hip-hop's resident genius and philosopher king, a singular artist who refuses to be defined only by the genre of music that he himself revolutionized, both musically and commercially. The Tao of Wu , his second book, tells the story of his rise from the projects of Staten Island to hip-hop megastar, and offers up the wisdom he built up along the way. In an entertaining and elucidating blend of hip-hop lyrics, parables, meditations, and urban experiences, the book spells out a spiritual code that draws from Buddhism, the Bible, Bruce Lee, and Krishna, all refracted through his unique life experiences. Presented as a series of lessons, The Tao of Wu  is a spiritual memoir such as the world has never seen before, and will surely never see again—and one that is all the more inspiring for its genuine and abiding wisdom.

"RZA is a towering artist and deep thinker who has much to teach us. I salute his courageous vision and compassionate witness – as manifest in this book and his life!" — Cornel West

Praise for The Wu-Tang Manual:

"Touching... .A glimpse inside the brain of the RZA, the producer/spiritual leader of Staten Island's revolutionary hip-hop collective, the Wu-Tang Clan....Weirdly inspirational." —New York Times Book Review

"Is there a Pulitzer Prize in the Wu's future?" —XXL Magazine

"At once edifying and wildly entertaining, [The Wu-Tang`Manual] occupies a fertile emotional crossroads of nostalgia, juvenile wish-fulfillment, and adult appreciation....it could augur a rebirth for one of the most influential rap groups of the 1990s." —Pitchfork


The RZA was born as Robert F. Diggs, and grew up in 1970s New York City, in the hardest parts of the city during the city's hardest years. Introduced to the precepts of both Islam and Christianity early on, The RZA used what he'd learned to transform his surroundings, even as he was living with 19 other family members in a two-bedroom apartment. These were the early days of hip-hop, and The RZA had fallen in love with this new kind of sound, but he was already getting deeper into the street game—until he finally found himself on trial for attempted murder. The trial was a.wake-up call, and when he was finally acquitted eight years of his life that he might have spent in prison back in his own hands—he decided to
finally take control of his life and his music.

Soon after, The RZA brought together his cousins Gary (GZA) and Russell (01' Dirty Bastard) along with their friends Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, Method Man, Masta Killa, U-God, and Ghostface Killah, in what would become one of the most important groups in the history of hip-hop, The Wu-Tang Clan. Thanks in large part to The RZA's revolutionary production, the group changed hip-hop forever with their platinum-selling albums Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and Wu-Tang Forever. But even at the height of Wu.- Tang fame, The RZA was more interested in pursuing his true creative and spiritual passions than indulging in bling, and these passions loom large in his music. Esoteric references to Eastern religion, martial arts, chess, comics, and numerology run through all the Wu-Tang's puzzle-like lyrics and public profiles, creating a veritable Wu mythology that continues to obsess their fans.

In his first book, The Wu-Tang Manual, The RZA offered a brief glimpse behind the scenes of the Wu-Tang mythology. The Tao of Wu  lets us all the way in, laying out RZA's complete philosophy—a unique blend of Eastern spirituality, numerology, and street code, informed by his obsessions with martial arts, comics, and chess Organized into seven "Pillars of Wisdom", The RZA recalls seven key turning points in his life, and passes on the spiritual lessons that he took from those experiences. Equal parts up-from-the-streets memoir and spiritual guidebook, The Tao of Wu  all encompassing look at the varied influences that have shaped the RZA's singular vision.

The RZA, while best known as the founder, producer, and mastermind behind the Wu-Tang Clan, has built one of the most diverse and successful careers of any contemporary cultural figure—as a musician, as a composer of film scores, as a producer, as an actor, as a businessman, as a player and advocate of chess, and as the author of The Wu-Tang Manual and the new The Tao of Wu. He has also been a long-time student of Islam, Eastern spirituality, and martial arts.

Born Robert F. Diggs in Brownsville, Brooklyn, the RZA first surfaced on the hip-hop scene during the early '90s. After brief stints as a member of the group All In Together Now and as a solo artist signed to Tommy Boy under the name Prince Rakeem, he formed the Wu-Tang Clan in 1992. Based in Staten Island (which the band members referred to as Shaolin), the Wu-Tang Clan went on to become one of the most successful and influential hip-hop groups of all time, and many of its members – The GZA, 01' Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, Method Man, Masta Killa, U-

God, and Ghostface Killah – went on to great success in their own right. The Wu-Tang Clan's debut LP, 1993's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), driven by RZA's unique, groundbreaking beats and signature gritty production style, has become a definitive hip-hop classic, revered as not just one of the greatest hip-hop albums ever, but as one of the most influential albums of any genre to come out of the 1990s. The other Wu-Tang albums – Wu-Tang Forever (nominated for a Grammy), The W, Iron Flag, and 8 Diagrams – have collectively sold over 12 million copies, and their elaborate videos, advanced production techniques, artist-centric business practices, multi-platform entrepreneurship, and dynamic public profiles revolutionized the music industry. Ultimately, the group became as famous for its music as for the heady, complex mythology it built up around itself.

Outside of Wu-Tang Clan, the RZA has been an artist of many names—the Abbott, Bobby Digital, Bobby Steels, Prince Rakeem, the Rzarector, the Scientist, Prince Delight, Prince Dynamite, Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah, etc. He has released several solo albums, under his own name and the name of his hedonistic alter ego Bobby Digital, including RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo, Digital Bullet,

Birth of a Prince, and, most recently, Digi Snax.

The RZA's first experience scoring films came when he was asked to compose the soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch's 1999 film, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, in which he also made a cameo appearance. The soundtrack was met with great critical acclaim, and the RZA went on to create and produce the award-winning original music for Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies, as well as the films Blade: Trinity, Soul Plane, and others. He also did the score of the American adaptation of the Japanese anime series Afro Samurai, starring Samuel L. Jackson.

In addition to working off-screen scoring films, the RZA has made onscreen appearances as well. Along with Ghost Dog, his acting credits include the films Derailed and American Gangster, Gospel Hill, and Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes.

An avid chess player, the RZA created WuChess.com last year, the world's first online hip-hop chess community – where chess players and hip-hop fans can learn from chess masters, compete for scholarships, and square off against the RZA and other hip-hop celebrities.

His first book, The Wu-Tang Manual, a handbook to the history, mysteries, and mythology of the Wu-Tang Clan, was published in 2005 to wide acclaim, and became a national bestseller. His second book, The Tao of Wu, will be published in October 2009.

The RZA is the mad genius behind the Wu-Tang Clan, arguably the most important hip-hop group of all time, and this book tells of his journey from the projects of Staten Island to international hip-. hop star and the vital spiritual lessons he learned on the way.

RZA is revered as the intellectual and spiritual king of hip-hop, and in this book he lays out the philosophy that is so central to who he is and to the music he made with the Wu-Tang Clan and beyond—a philosophy informed by a unique blend of Eastern spirituality, Christianity, numerology, science, and hard-earned street wisdom.

This is a spiritual guide such as the world has never experienced before, one that arrives at Buddhist principles and Biblical wisdom through experiences of urban street wars, drug indulgences, and hip-hop stardom—and articulates this wisdom in language peppered with hip-hop phraseologies.

The RZA's spirituality is not a guise—his beliefs are genuine and real, and informed by a lifetime of serious study and practice.

Part up-from-the-streets memoir and part Book of Wisdom, THE TAO OF WU is based around seven key turning points in The RZA's life—the first time he heard hip-hop music, being charged with attempted murder, the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan—and the spiritual impact these events had on him.

In his first book The Wu-Tang Manual, The RZA only scratched the surface of the intricate philosophies and obsessions at the essence of the Wu-Tang mythology. In The Tao of Wu , he takes us much deeper, revealing how those philosophies and obsessions came about and developed over the years.

The RZA is considered one of hip-hop's true artists—a man who, even at the height of hip-hop fame, was more interested in pursuing his artistic and spiritual passions than in indulging in the bling around him. Here, he reveals the process by which he built one of the most powerful hip-hop dynasties of all time.

In a highly personal account, The RZA bares all in honest discussions about his drug-dealing past, his attempted murder charges, and his hedonistic days as his alter-ego Bobby Digital.

In a touching moment, The RZA tells the story of ODB's death as he's never told it before, and the profound effect that it had on him.

The book is fascinating for surprising mix of Eastern spirituality and urban violence, of celebrity excess and chess tournaments. It's entertaining for sure—but at its core is also the genuine, profound wisdom of a man who has lived an incredible life, and is sharing it with uncommon warmth and honesty.

All Praise due to Allah, Lord of all the Worlds.

Supreme Peace and Blessing. This Book of Wisdom is Volume Two of the Wu-Tang Manual and a second installment to the chambers of ideas of the Wu-Tang as told by the Abbot.

In the Divine Mathematics, Knowledge is 1: the foundation of all things. Wisdom is 2: the manifestation of Knowledge. It is knowledge in action. Manifestation = Man Fest = Speak Action is action.

Wisdom is the separation that begins life. It is the explosion that created the universe. It is the division of every cell that multiplies to form a single life. It is the partition God renders when he says, "Let there be Light"—separating light from dark, sky from ocean. It is the detachment of man from his rib to create woman.

Wisdom is woman. It is the womb one must pass through to become mentally born. Knowledge and Wisdom give birth to Understanding just as man and woman give birth to a child.

Wisdom is the word. It is the way to make Knowledge known. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the word became flesh." God's Knowledge was made manifest through words to create life.

Wisdom is reflection in time. Knowledge is static and timeless. It is the moment before the Big Bang, the explosion brings and borns Understanding through the fourth dimension, which is time.

Wisdom is water. It is the flood that drowned the wicked in the time of Noah. It is the sea that drowned the Pharaoh's army when Moses used it to part the waters. It is the universal solvent into which all things dissolve in time.


n every story and life, there's a call. In the Book of
Exodus, it comes to Moses after he leaves Egypt as a
shepherd: One of his sheep gets away, he goes looking
for it on a mountain, and he hears a voice—God calling
to him. In the Koran, it comes to Muhammad after he's
had kids and has lived a full, righteous life...


On the corner of my block there stood this old man A black immigrant from the land of Sudan
Who used to tell stories to the children in the building But never had a dollar to keep his pocket filled in
He bombed, he knew Deuteronomy the science of astronomy But didn't know the basic principles of economy
I say the wise man don't play the role of a fool The first thing a man must obtain is Twelve Jewelz
Knowledge Wisdom Understanding to help you achieve Freedom, Justice, Equality, Food, Clothing, and Shelter After this, Love, Peace, and Happiness
He had the nappiest head, I told him total satisfaction Is to achieve one goal in the scheme of things

He who works like a slave, eats like a king -"TWELVE JEWELZ," GRAVEDIGGAZ


Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing yourself is Enlightenment.

I've been a story reader since I was three, a storyteller almost as long. When I was ten, I was friends with a Sudanese Muslim kid named Cassim, who knew a lot of the same Bible stories I did, since people like Job and Abraham are also mentioned in the Koran. The two of us would post up in the hood, telling tales of the prophets to other kids. That's what the Bible was to me back then—stories--until I found Knowledge, and the truth in them became real.


Practice wit and deflection
every day. You never know
when you'll need it.

Dear Prince, what is light?

Light is that force that expels darkness; it is the phenomenon that darkness brings about.

'What is the brightest form of light?

The darkest of the black holes, for it is the closest to the state of darkness in which light was created.

Dear Prince, your wisdom is truly superb!

Thank you, minister, it's thanks to your light that I'm able to see so clearly.

In the darkness of the womb exist the atom of life and the light of Knowledge. It is this light of Knowledge that brought the light of Wisdom to the light of Understanding to the Freedom from the darkness in which life was.


What we learn to do we learn by doing. -ARISTOTLE

n April of 1991, I got back to New York on a mission. 1. At my trial, my moms inspired me to walk the right path, and I did—literally. In Staten Island, I walked every day for hours. I mean, walked, like Da'Mo walked all the way from India to China. I'd walk from the Park Hill projects to the Staten Island ferry dock, from New Brighton to the Stapleton projects, walking through May, June, July. Some people thought I was crazy because they'd see me out there walking and talking to myself. Later, I told one of them, "I may have been talking, but I wasn't talking to myself."

Those walks were a form of meditation...


How can I put it? Life is like video footage

Hard to edit, directors that never understood it I'm too impulsive, my deadly corrosive dosage

Attack when you least notice through explosive postage I don't play, the rap soufflé sauté for the day

Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig A, Leg Leg Arm Head

Spread like plague, we drink Hennessy by the jig I got the golden egg plus the goose

Eighty-proof Absolut mixed with cranberry fruit juice Ginseng boost, I got your neck in a noose

Keep my money wrinkled, the rap star twinkle killer instinct Sixteen-bar nickel sell more copies than Kinko

Grow like a fetus with no hands and feet to complete us And we return like Jesus, when the whole world need us -RZA, "REUNITED"

For what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul. -JESUS


Not everyone is meant to make a difference. But for me, the choice to lead an ordinary life is no longer an option. -PETER PARKER

It's hard to explain what it's like to be rich, famous, and I from the hood. One way is to think of a superhero. Someone who has special powers, a double identity, maybe a secret weakness or two.

Anyone who listens to Wu-Tang knows how deep comic books run with us—how Meth takes the name Ghost Rider or Johnny Blaze, how Ghostface takes the name Iron Man or even Iron Man's alter ego Tony Stark. (It's funny to think how many of our references are in big-budget Hollywood movies now.)...



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